Strategy Centre

A Comparison of Magento and IRP

  
30 March 2016 11:24
  

A Comparison of Magento and IRP

With so many ecommerce platforms available to choose from on the market today it can be a difficult decision to make when deciding to invest in a new website platform. In the following article we are going to look at two enterprise ecommerce platforms, Magento and the International Retail Platform (IRP):

  • Magento is a very customisable ecommerce platform with over 240,000 merchants using the platform worldwide.
  • The IRP is designed to build you an online sales machine that is optimised to increase sales. It is leading the way in using automated intelligence to help you run your ecommerce business and has currently transacted over £1 billion for IRP customers.

We will compare the two platforms in each of the areas described below and conclude with a summary of the key findings:


1. Pricing Model / Hosting


Magento

Positives

As Magento is an open source platform, basically anyone with some Magento experience can deploy a Magento website for you. This could be the cheaper option, however it would be recommended to use a professional company or specialist in-house team to build your Magento site to your requirements. Depending on which option you choose there will likely be no transaction fees.

Magento is a self-hosted platform which means initially you have two choices for hosting: build/buy infrastructure to host your website or partner with a specialist hosting company who can manage your hosting needs. Some large companies using Magento will use Amazon web services due to its cost effectiveness and the performance it offers. However there are companies who specialise in hosting and support and they can be another good option.

Negatives

With Magento being a self-hosted platform, you will require a hosting and security team in-house or else contract and pay an external company to manage the hosting and security of your Magento website. Depending on your hosting, site performance, security needs and traffic volumes coming to your website, this can range anywhere from £100 up to £1500 per month.

As Magento and some partners do not take a transaction fee on your sales, you will find that many companies will give you a website and leave you to it. In contrast, the IRP Commerce platform and their partners work off a revenue share model which means that it is in both companies’ interests to drive the business forward and increase revenues. Yes, with the IRP Commerce platform you lose a small percentage of each transaction, however this is relatively small compared to the extra income you receive and the access you have to ecommerce professionals.

IRP

Positives

The IRP is an enterprise-level ecommerce platform that allows retailers of all sizes to access state-of-the-art ecommerce software for a small transaction fee. The IRP platform is always being updated with advancements to the technology and the performance of the platform.

The IRP is a hosted, PCI Level 1-compliant ecommerce platform offering the highest level of security to companies using the IRP as well as confidence to consumers who are purchasing through a site using IRP technology. With IRP looking after the hosting it allows the business to focus on growing the business and increasing sales rather than being concerned about their website crashing or if it can handle the holiday season spike in traffic.

All hosting, security updates and software updates are included in the transaction fee. Another benefit of having the platform and hosting handled by one company is that it ensures that there is one main point of contact if there are any issues or support required.

Negatives

With the IRP pricing model being to take a small transaction fee per sale, as your business grows the fee which is charged monthly can become a significant amount and, if looked at solely as a cost, your finance team may see it as a high cost that needs to be reduced. On the other hand, it is key to remember the features that are included with the software as well as the valuable access to expert ecommerce professionals and the value they bring and continue to bring to the business.


2. Range & Comprehensiveness of Technical Features


Magento

Positives

Magento is open source software which means that the feature you may require is likely available either as part of the core functionality or through extensions available in the Magento store.

Developers can use Magento’s open API to build their extensions and connect with the Magento platform. With over 200,000 stores using Magento it is easy to see why a lot of digital and marketing companies specialise in Magento development work.

The standard features include dashboard, orders, product catalogue, customers, promotions, blog, content pages and reporting (see Comparison of Standard Features). Magento is very customisable with the extensions that are available. Some of the key extensions that a lot of companies install are email marketing, dropped basket emails, CRM platforms, shipping integrations with companies such as Royal Mail and Parcelforce, social media integrations and marketplace integrations.

One key benefit of a Magento website is the ability to offer different prices for different regions. This is extremely important for companies that have retail stores around the world and they want to offer customers the exact same price online and in store.

Negatives

Default ecommerce features that come as standard include orders, payments, stock, customers, discounts, reporting and design (see Comparison of Standard Features). Having the basics allows an ecommerce company to get up and running, however if they would like to add on more features to their Magento website they will have to use the marketplace to install free or paid extensions. There are a huge number of extensions in the marketplace which can make the decision of choosing the best one difficult. The other issue is that if you have your Magento platform set up in a specific or custom way, a lot of the extensions may not work, or, in order for them to work, development work would be required which can run up expensive bills.

IRP

Positives

The IRP is geared towards selling and has all of the key selling channels integrated and available to use, such as Google AdWords, Google Shopping, Bing Ads, Facebook dynamic ads, Facebook Custom Audiences, Email Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. The platform is always being updated based on customer feedback and updates are frequently released to customers.

Fantastic search functionality comes as standard, with the ability to add search aliases, reserved terms and also the ability to analyse search results and unmatched search terms. Having an excellent search feature on your website is essential to ensuring that your customers can find what they are looking for.

Frequent updates of the platform ensure that your company has access to the latest software to allow for exponential online revenue growth.

Negatives

As the IRP is a hosted solution and a marketplace does not currently exist for developers to sell apps, there is limited ability to add on different features such as MailChimp integration or an email deliverability check that would let you know which email addresses are no longer in use or have become invalid and are still on your mailing list.

There is a lot of core functionality in the IRP but the lack of ability to integrate to some third parties could be seen as a small weakness. However, road map integrations are always being released so this will become less of a weakness.

The home page section, if utilised correctly, can be very powerful, with the ability to set up country-specific home pages and multiple home pages per country for specific products across desktop and mobile. The feature sounds fantastic but once you have a few home pages set up, the layout of this section can become confusing.

Comparison of Standard Features

Below is an overview of the main features that come as standard with each platform. The two systems used to compare feature sets were IRP v3.5 and Magento Community Edition v1.9.

Main Features Included as Standard on Each Platform
FeatureIRP Version 3.5Magento Community Edition v1.9
Dashboard
Orders
Product Catalogue
Customers
Promotions
Newsletter/Blog
Content Pages
Reports
Email Marketing  
Loyalty Scheme  
Multiple Currencies  
Multiple Languages  
EPOS  
Insights  
Live Chat  
Marketplace Integrations  
PPC Management Tools  
Customer Reviews  
Statistics  
Stock Control  
System Logs  
Social Media Integrations  

The features that come as standard in the IRP but not in Magento are available for Magento through extensions and integrations. These require finding the right extension or integration for your business and ensuring they come from a reputable company that is able to support and provide on-going updates. It is important to remember that not all extensions will work with your Magento website, depending on the configuration.


3. Marketing Features & SEO Support


Magento

Positives

The Magento platform allows for category, brand, product and content pages. This ensures that individual content that is persuasive and engaging can be used to improve click through rates. The ability to enter specific meta titles and descriptions can improve click through rates from organic listings in search engines. However when you have a huge product catalogue it would be another option to do these in bulk at store level.

The Magento platform allows you to set up promotions and discount codes to incentivise your customers to purchase from your website.

Negatives

As standard without a lot of tweaks and updates to the standard SEO then it will rank poorly, however with experience and knowledge the SEO can be optimised to ensure your website ranks well in organic search results.

As standard the Magento ecommerce platform comes with very few marketing features apart from a promotions section that allows you to set up promotions and discount codes. However through extensions a lot of marketing features are available.

IRP

Positives

The IRP marketing features that you can access within the platform are quite extensive and includes, email marketing, customisable automated emails, mailing list segmentation, customer loyalty scheme, price match functionality and the promotions engine, Google Shopping and Google AdWords integration.

By having Google Shopping integrated with your ecommerce site, your products will display on Google when consumers are searching for products that you sell. This channel is very effective at increasing traffic and sales through your website.

Google AdWords integration is also available which saves a lot of time when setting up and creating new campaigns. Keyword generation can be completed through the IRP and campaigns can be transferred across to Google AdWords for the final setup and for campaigns to go live.

The integrated Email Marketing suite has full tracking ability to show open rates, click through rates, conversion rates, and average order value among several other key metrics. The email marketing suite is fully HTML5 compliant so the latest email designs can be used including fully responsive emails. This is important as over 70% of emails are now opened on mobiles.

Customisable automated emails include dropped baskets, inactive customer emails, order recommendations and birthday emails. These emails can be tailored to the business to ensure messaging and branding is consistent and engaging.

Mailing list segmentation is based on all data collected from customers via orders. This allows for targeted and specific emails to be sent which have a much higher conversion rate than a general marketing email.

The IRP comes with a loyalty scheme included in its feature set which allows for loyalty bands to be set up based on a customer’s spend. An example would be having a bronze, silver and gold category and giving customers a percentage saving as a reward for spending more with your store.

Price match functionality comes as standard and allows for a customer to price match you against a competitor. This is a good way of increasing sales if you have great customer service, shipping and returns policy and the customer prefers to buy from you. This helps to ensure that you do not lose the sale.

Negatives

The Email Marketing functionality is good but it is not the best email marketing software available on the market. For a marketer using the system they would have to create the emails in an external program and then copy the email into the IRP in order to test and send out the email to customers. There are some email marketing specialist platforms that are available with drag-and-drop functionality as well as functionality built in to let you know the exact email addresses that have not opened the emails. They also include an improved on-screen previewer that allows you to see the mail on a mobile device as well as desktop device when designing the email.

Some email marketing platforms have built-in mailbox testing capabilities that will automatically test your email against how it will appear in up to 30 different mailbox systems.

The Live Chat functionality could be improved in the instances of a customer supplying their email address. If there were analytics tied to the email address it would be possible to work out the conversion rate and the effect of having live chat switched on as it would be possible to compare the conversion rate of a customer converting with and without live chat per channel.

There are a few other features within the IRP that could be improved, however with the modern user interface and an easy-to-use system that has a substantial amount of core functionality, it is clear to see why companies choose the IRP as their preferred choice of ecommerce platform.


4. Social Media Support


Magento

Positives

Out of the box the Magento platform allows for a vast array of social media channels to be added to your ecommerce website. These are handled through extensions. Some of the key social media extensions include social login, the ability to create a Facebook store with your inventory from your website and Trustpilot have also developed an app for direct integration with your Magento store to allow product and customer reviews to be automated. With over 150 extensions in the social media, there are a lot of options when it comes to customising your store to connect in with your social media sites.

Negatives

As standard the Magento ecommerce platform comes with very few social media integrations which will require them to be added through extensions which require development time which will increase the setup fee of your new website.

IRP

Positives

The IRP is deployed social-media friendly with integrations available for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. Customers can have the ability to share your items across social media channels and with their friends and family.

One key feature with the rise of the importance of social selling is the integration with Facebook that allows for custom audiences to be created based on user behaviour on your site. You can then target specific ads at these customers. Another feature is the ability to use Facebook Dynamic ads which display products in your customers news feed based on the products they have viewed on your site.

Through Facebook, Instagram ads can also be set up to advertise to audiences on the Instagram network.

Tracking for Twitter ads can also be implemented to allow for accurate analysis on the ROI of running a Twitter campaign.

Negatives

With the IRP there is no ability to create a Facebook store either natively or through an extension. If you are running a Facebook or Twitter campaign to collect email addresses there is no automated way for these to create a mailing list in the IRP. The email addresses for each campaign would have to be imported manually.


5. Integrations


Magento

Positives

Integrating your Magento website is possible for the majority of the EPR systems on the market today, including NetSuite, SAP, and Sage among many others. Accounting systems such as Sage, Xero and QuickBooks can also be integrated. The integrations can be set up through extensions that are free or paid through the extension store. Some of the extensions are developed directly by the company or by third-party partners.

Negatives

Integrations have to be set up through an extension and if no extension is available then a bespoke integration may be required that will require a specification, developing and testing which will be an added cost to your website either during deployment or further down the line.

IRP

Positives

There are several key integrations with Patchworks, allowing you to access the main ERP and business management systems that you currently use to manage your offline and online channels.

Direct integrations with the IRP are also possible to ensure all systems within your business are communicating correctly and accurately.

The IRP has a number of integrations as standard and some of the main ones include Finch PPC, Affiliate Window, Trustpilot, Patchworks, WorldPay, Realex, PayPal, Google Certified Shops, Royal Mail and Parcelforce.

Having direct integrations with the main shipping carriers allows for shipping labels and tracking numbers to be generated and assigned within the IRP while processing the orders without having to use an external system.

Negatives

Although the key integrations are in place to most major software platforms, if you are currently using a specific or bespoke piece of software that is critical to your business, it would require development work to set up the integration to allow your current software and the IRP to communicate and for data to pass between the two systems.


6. Inventory Management


Magento

Positives

For inventory management there are several options available. One option for large retailers is to use Magento’s own Retail Order Management solution that allows you to manage orders and warehouses, drop shipping and retail stores and also includes an analytics centre to allow for an overview of all sales and fulfilment channels. This product is aimed at large retailers who would benefit from this solution. ERP and extensions can be used for inventory management and there is huge selection of choices available.

Negatives

The Magento web platform will offer limited inventory tracking but allows you to set stock levels and provides reports on best-selling products and low stock. It is quite limited and as the number of product orders increases it can become very time-consuming to manage and keep on top of.

IRP

Positives

The IRP comes with a very sophisticated stock inventory solution that allows for multiple stock locations, purchase order creation, stock management, stock analysis and stock transfers. The stock analysis feature allows for merchandising teams to make buying decisions on the stock that needs ordered for the following seasons.

Having this module included within your ecommerce platform allows for a native business control platform combining all sales and inventory channels.

Negatives

When testing the stock inventory system everything worked functionally, however there were a few quirks when using the system to manage stock, create purchase orders and transfer stock between multiple locations. With some training and a full understanding of the inventory system it worked quite well.


7. Ease of Use in Key Areas


Magento

Positives

With some training to get you up to speed on the Magento interface you will be able to navigate your way around the main sections. The exporting of information from your Magento site is quite simple with most sections that contain data having a simple export feature that allows you to quickly export your data in a CSV file. Uploading can be slightly trickier and requires you to go through multiple steps and access a different section of your website.

For the checkout the two main options you will have are the standard checkout of several steps as well as a one page checkout. Your Magento Partner will discuss this option before your website as built. With Magento it is possible to choose from several payment providers/Merchants including Realex, PayPal, Sage, Braintree and Stripe among many others. A nice feature that is available is the ability to offer a subscription service to your customers and it handles all of the payments and subscriptions. This was an idea initially offered by Amazon with Prime but forward-thinking ecommerce retailers are also offering this, including Dollar Shave Club, Bjorn Borg, Graze, BirchBox among many others.

Through the extension store Magento users have various shipping companies to choose from that integrate directly into their website. Some of the main ones include: Royal Mail (including the new Royal Mail DMO), Parcelforce, FedEx, DHL, USPS and other third-party shipping companies.

A selection of themes are available through the Magento store to customise the look and feel of your website. The themes are split by industry to allow you to pick the best one for your company based on what you are selling. The themes can also be customised for your bespoke requirements.

Negatives

The Magento interface is quite bulky and dated when compared to more modern enterprise ecommerce platforms; however it does do everything required once you know your way around the system.

IRP

Positives

The interface and usability of the IRP makes it one of the best enterprise ecommerce platforms available today. The interface is logical and the workflows allow for any team to run an efficient ecommerce business, from order processing to email creation.

The bulk import and export functionality is fantastic which allows for uploading thousands of products at the click of a button. There are several steps that occur during the upload that ensures any data inaccuracies or errors are highlighted and corrected before completing the upload. It is also easy to export data when required, such as exporting customer email lists to use to build custom audiences for Facebook ads or Gmail ads.

With the user-friendly checkout and the ability to use several of the integrated payment methods including Realex, WorldPay and PayPal, businesses and consumers have a choice of what payment method they prefer.

Negatives

A limitation of the IRP is the small number of shipping integrations available, with only Royal Mail, Parcelforce and TNT currently available as direct integrations. Royal Mail and Parcelforce are fantastic shipping companies that ship worldwide, however prices can be expensive when compared to some other shipping companies for posting internationally. A potential solution to this would be if the IRP integrated with a company such as Ship Theory, similar to how other ecommerce companies have. This would open up integrations to companies such as UPS, Yodel, DPD, APC, UKMail, DHL and FedEx.

Having a look around IRP World there seems to be a limited number of themes available to choose from and a lot of current IRP websites seem to have quite a similar and functional layout. Potentially having more options to choose from would take the front end design to the next level.


8. International Aspects


Magento

Positives

Adding international elements to your website is possible by purchasing or using the free extensions from the marketplace, including the ability to translate your website and offer multiple currencies and local languages to your customers. With Magento there are several options, including implementing different store views for different countries/regions which allows for separate price lists or by implementing an auto-currency feature and IP detection to automatically display the local currency to customers.

Negatives

None of the international elements come as standard with the Magento web platform and require a developer and extensions installed to ensure that they are set up and working correctly.

IRP

Positives

The IRP was designed and developed for businesses that are selling internationally, with the built-in payment methods such as WorldPay allowing you to offer local methods of payments to your international customers.

Multicurrency is a standard feature of the IRP that allows consumers browsing an IRP site to see the price in their local currency. Multi-language capabilities built in as standard with the IRP allow for all content on an IRP site to be translated. This, along with the international banners and content per country, allows for full localisation to take place.

Negatives

With the IRP built for selling worldwide, the ability to have multiple currencies automatically set up through an exchange rate works for a lot of companies. However there are companies out there, particularly in the fashion industry, who have separate price lists for different regions around the world. Currently the IRP cannot handle separate fixed price lists.


9. Mobile Versions


Magento

Positives

The Magento web platform is fully responsive, ensuring that your website will display correctly across all screen sizes. Implementing the one-page checkout also makes it easier to checkout on mobile devices by reducing the time it takes to complete the purchase. For browsing the user has the ability to search or to use the attribute filters to find the exact product they are looking for or to narrow the number of products returned. The ability to filter the results provides a better user experience to customers.

With traffic to mobile sites always increasing it is important to offer the best user experience to your customers.

Negatives

With the Magento platform being responsive, it is important to ensure all messaging, content and imagery displays correctly across devices as we have come across instances where the scaling of the responsive theme has been slightly out, causing the banners and imagery to distort.

IRP

Positives

The IRP is mobile friendly as standard. This ensures that consumers browsing an IRP website are receiving an excellent and user-friendly interface which allows them to research, browse and search to find the exact products they are looking for. The ability to save baskets for later and fast checkout via the on-site checkout or PayPal ensures that consumers have an easy and efficient way of purchasing on their mobile device.

Negatives

The IRP has a mobile-friendly framework rather than being fully responsive which means that some duplication of content may be required across desktop and mobile content pages. However it is possible to set up responsive content pages that work across all screen sizes.


10. Reporting & Analytics


Magento

Positives

Within the Magento platform there are dashboards containing the top items that an ecommerce manager should be focusing on, from sales, traffic, best-selling products, most frequent customers and top searches. There are a number of standard reports that users can access when required with easy searching and filtering by date ranges. Full Google-enhanced ecommerce tracking is available.

Extensions from the Magento Connect store allow for enhanced reporting capabilities including tracking of all online marketing channels through one interface.

Negatives

With the Magento platform it is important to ensure that tracking is implemented correctly for reporting and that Google Analytics has been set up to track ecommerce sales. Without accurate tracking your analyses and strategy (which will be based off these) will be incorrect.

IRP

Positives

The IRP handles reporting of all channels to give you an overview of how your marketing channels are performing, how cost-effective the channels are and how you are performing compared to other companies using the IRP.

Being able to have a visual of all marketing spend and sales through one interface is beneficial to all ecommerce staff to give them an overview of how their business is performing. This, tied in with Google Analytics integration as standard, ensures that all tracking is correct and accurate.

Negatives

Although the IRP reporting section is very in-depth, there are a lot of custom reports required to get the information you require for reporting and analysis on an on-going basis. To use the reports, training is required and an understanding of SQL would be beneficial. It seems to be one of the only platforms on the market that allows access to the SQL editor.


11. Technical Support, Partner Network and Community


Magento

As there are a many websites using Magento, a large network of companies have grown into Magento partners and experts.

Positives

With Magento being open source, they have a range of certifications that any experienced Magento user can take. Once the criteria are met and exams are passed, the user receives a certification. Magento offer a forum where everyone who uses Magento can connect, including developers, partners and companies. The interaction is very beneficial and sharing of ideas, issues and resolutions generates a community-driven environment.

Magento offer on-going webinars that can be viewed when required. Depending on the level of webinar these can be free or paid. They also offer specialist training for developers which helps to grow the developer network and the number of developers creating extensions for Magento Connect which is where all of the Magento extensions are available to install on your store.

There is a huge Magento community with several different standards of certified partners including silver and gold standard. Magento also offer the ability to work directly with the in-house Magento Expert consulting group on the following areas: Architectural Advisory, Business Analysis Consulting, Code Auditing, Health Check, Performance review, Technical Consulting, Technical Account Manager, and Upgrade Implementation.

Negatives

If your in-house team is installing extensions to expand the feature set of your Magento website, it is important that they are experienced in the Magento platform in case any issues occur when installing the extensions which cause your website to break or cause disruptions.

With Magento being a self-hosted platform you are going to need an internal support team who are the go-to people in your company for any Magento issues, training requirements and if any issues occur with integrations. To have an in-house team you have to take into account staff salaries or, if you do not want to hire your own support team, there are companies that specialise in offering Magento support which can be contracted on a set number of hours per month. This can range anywhere from £200 up to £1000 per month. This can also be paid for on an hourly basis starting at around £50 per hour up to £150 , depending on the quality of the staff.

As software updates are not managed by Magento it is the Magento merchant’s responsibility to plan, schedule, authorise and update their system when new software and security patches are released to ensure that there are no security issues or vulnerabilities with your system.

IRP

Positives

As the IRP is a hosted solution, all IRPs have access to the latest version which allows all members of IRP World to be experienced and familiar with using the IRP.

Users of the IRP have the ability to influence the features available in future IRP releases via the IRP Road Map.

IRP World includes an expanding community of similarly-sized companies that should be sharing ideas of how they do things and sharing ecommerce trends and things they see working.

The IRP World is a fantastic resource that all IRP users can use. It allows for direct access to talented ecommerce professionals, including IRP Commerce staff, system integrators and service providers. The strict vetting ensures that you are always dealing with experts who are experienced in the IRP and ecommerce.

Negatives

1st line and 2nd line support is provided by Systems Integrators who are fully qualified and trained on using and supporting the IRP although sometimes the first response is to check the Knowledge Base. Also if there is a technical change required this may not be possible and the support coming from IRP can sometimes be slow during busy periods. However this is a common occurrence across all platforms.

The partner network and community in IRP World is still quite small, so although you can use any company for digital marketing or any service you require it can be quite difficult to find a company offering a range digital services that have experience in the IRP.


12. Intelligence/Insights


Magento

With the ability to set up Google Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, the ecommerce features of Google Analytics can be very beneficial to merchants as it gives them a more detailed insight to how consumers are interacting and navigating and the steps and funnels they are going through that results in a purchase.

There are some integrations in the marketplace that connect to your store that can predict when a shopper is likely to buy in a few clicks and can personalise the experience in real time. It can act as a personal shopper and can predict and engage, bring shoppers back and offer assistance when required.

IRP

The IRP has a world-class intelligence engine that is always on to provide you with invaluable insights. The Insights section is always expanding as technology advances. From carrying out user analysis and identifying conversion blocks that are creating friction points for customers using IRP websites.

The Insights section allows you to see exactly where a customer is on the website as well as where they are in the buying funnel.

With the latest features released and an update to the automated intelligence, it is now possible for the IRP to predict the likelihood of a visitor to the site converting.

Negatives

The IRP Insights section is always improving, however if there was an ability to group customers based on their actions on the website and target them via email marketing, Facebook ads, Gmail ads and other remarketing channels, it would be an excellent way to retarget users based on their on-site behaviour.


13. Other Areas


B2B

  • Magento
    Magento have developed a specific B2B solution for the market to allow Magento users to offer a world-class experience to their business customers. From the back end of the B2B platform you are able to handle individual Account Management of business customers, Quick order processing, inventory tracking, personalised pricing for specific customers and customer groups, mobile responsive design and EPR connectors as standard which allow you to connect your B2B site into your ERP solutions.
  • IRP
    The IRP platform has the ability to offer a world-class B2B ecommerce website that allows your customers to benefit from the next generation of B2B websites. This includes the ability to handle unlimited SKUs, unlimited bandwidth and core functionality including pricing lists, account management, streamlined order processing, inventory management and a mobile friendly design.

Security & PCI Compliance

  • Magento
    The Magento platform helps merchants achieve PCI compliance by offering integrated payment gateways that allow merchants to securely transmit credit card details via direct post API methods or with hosted payment forms. A benefit of Magento depending on the configuration is the ability to log in from any location.
  • IRP
    The IRP is Level 1 PCI compliant as standard, which is the highest level attainable. With the IRP being a hosted solution, there is a security team in place to ensure that regular testing and security updates are ongoing.

EPOS

  • Magento
    Magento have their own Retail Commerce suite that is fully integrated to the Magento web platform. It does not come as standard with the web platform however it is a very sophisticated retail system that allows full catalogue access, customer engagement, in-aisle commerce, alert, task management, communication and omnichannel fulfilment.
    Multiple EPOS companies have integrated with Magento to allow ecommerce companies using the Magento platform to use their EPOS software in their store. This means that companies have a choice when it comes to selecting the best EPOS software for their business. Each business usually has a different set of requirements based on how they run their business and by having a number of options you have the opportunity to find EPOS software that matches your requirements.
  • IRP
    The IRP platform comes with an integrated EPOS system that allows you to sell in-store from the same inventory that is available to your online store. You also have the ability for the store to have its own inventory. Multiple EPOS systems can be set up for multi-location businesses or, as you open new locations, new EPOS systems can be added on.
    Within the EPOS there is full reporting functionality for sales that can be set to run over a certain time period. Gift receipts and gift vouchers can also be generated from the till. You can also customise your receipt with your own branding and messaging.

Marketplaces

  • Magento
    Through Magento extensions there is a wide variety of marketplace integrations, including Amazon, Amazon FBA, eBay and other marketplaces including Rakuten and worldwide marketplaces available through Channel Advisor, Lengow and Channel Unity.
  • IRP
    The IRP comes with a full Amazon integration that allows for product creating, listing, stock inventory management and order download to your IRP. This allows for all orders from different channels to be managed and fulfilled from the one platform. Through third-party integrations there is the ability to list on other marketplaces.

14. Conclusion


There are a huge number of ecommerce companies trading online today, all with unique, needs, desires and goals. These range from companies turning over several hundred million with a workforce of a few hundred people, companies turning over one-to-ten million with staff of around twenty to fifty, to companies only entering the ecommerce world with a team of one-to-three looking to sell their products online and expand globally.

The size of your team, their experience, your goals and requirements will all have an effect on the choice of your ecommerce platform.

A company that may choose Magento is a company that has a very strict set of requirements and requires a lot of customisability both on the customer-facing front end and the integrations and extensions needed for the back end. This could be something like having stores in different regions throughout the world and wanting to manage their online store through one platform with the ability to have multiple price lists.

Companies have multiple choices to make when choosing to go with a Magento platform and one of the main decisions is whether they look after everything in house including hosting, development, security, support, design and all online marketing channels, or if they connect with a Magento Partner to look after website build, development, hosting and support.

A company that may choose the IRP is a company whose main goal is to increase their online revenue. Some of the main reasons clients choose the IRP are:

  • They have outgrown their current platform and it is holding them back.
  • They are having scalability issues.
  • They are having performance and reliability issues.
  • They want to partner with a technology company that shares their goal of growing their online business.
  • It takes a long time for development changes to be authorised and implemented.
  • They want access to professional ecommerce experts.
  • They want a hosted solution and everything to be looked after by one partner.

Companies that use the IRP find that they have a significantly lower ecommerce platform budget compared to some platforms and this allows them to reinvest money into the business — this could be into a number of areas including staff, research and development, training and expanding other areas of the business.

When you are a company turning over £500,000 – £2,000,000 and see large companies such as Nike, Giro, Franklin, Paul Smith, Stella & Dot and Alex and Ani, it is easy to see why there are so many companies of this size choosing Magento, as they can see larger companies than them do very well with the platform. However, the technology and the platform is just one part of an ecommerce business. It is important to factor in the costs of building a decent Magento site, the on-going costs and access to talented ecommerce professionals.

The IRP can offer all of the functionality required to grow your business and, as it is a hosted platform, allows you to focus on marketing and growing your business without having to worry about hosting and security, as well as having access to talented ecommerce professionals for advice and consultancy when required. Many companies using the IRP have seen their revenues grow substantially.

When making a decision on which ecommerce platform is best for your business it is important to spec out your exact requirements and what features or services you have on your roadmap that you want to offer your customers in the future to improve your customer’s online experience.

If you need any advice on choosing the correct ecommerce platform that will allow your business to reach its full potential leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/daviddickson286

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